Austin & TX Hill Country – Day 5

fhcBefore I head out on vacation, I figured I should probably finish my series of blogs from the last one. That would be the vacation we took back in April—to Austin and the Texas Hill Country. In case you missed the first four installments, here they are:

Austin & TX Hill Country – Day 1
Austin & TX Hill Country – Day 2
Austin & TX Hill Country – Day 3
Austin & TX Hill Country – Day 4
Austin and TX Hill Country Overview fhc1

So here it goes. Our last day of vacation was spent entirely in Austin. It was a whirlwind of activity with a focus on food and Texas history, and generally trying to pack in as much as possible into a single day.

We started with breakfast at Flip Happy Crepes, which I had fallen in love with during my first visit to Austin. It’s a great little breakfast joint in a beautiful silver airstream trailer that whips up the most fantastic crepes. Although it was nearly impossible to pick just two from the extensive menu, I settled on a little sweet and a little savory: the Peanut Butter Delight (with bananas, chocolate, almonds and chantilly cream) and the Scrambled breakfast crepe (with cheddar, spinach, tomato, and scallions). Paired with Fresh Press coffee, it was a fitting breakfast for our last day of vacation. texas-2012-192

Next up was a visit to Lance Armstrong’s Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop. Although it’s no secret I’m not the biggest fan of Lance’s, I enjoyed checking out the store. It’s beautiful—an impressive space with lots of eye candy in the form of bikes and bike accessories. I found a cool “Bike Austin” t-shirt that I purchased as a souvenir. (Because I really need another t-shirt with a picture of a bike on it.)

Afterward, I took Larry to the Whole Foods’ flagship store on Lamar Street. I had been there during my last visit to Austin, but I thought Larry would enjoy exploring the massive store. It’s like Whole Foods on steroids—80,000 square feet of foods of the whole variety. We were like kids in a candy store. texas-2012-202

Then, of course, I insisted on a trip across the street to Waterloo Records. It’s my goal to bring home a new vinyl record whenever I travel. I perused the latest offerings and finally settled on Andrew Bird’s latest double album, Break It Yourself, which I’ve listened to countless times since returning from our trip. It’s fabulous and I can’t wait to see him in concert in September.

Although I was still quite full from breakfast, it was time for lunch. And when the clock tells me it’s time to eat, I generally listen. Larry and I were eager for a return trip to Polvos Mexican Restaurant, which we had especially enjoyed the first day of our trip. This time we tried the Ceviche and a few tacos. Although they weren’t quite as earth-shatteringly delicious as the Chilaquiles breakfast from our previous visit, the dishes were still heads and tails above anything we’d find in Madison. I’d recommend Polvos in a heartbeat.texas-2012-212

Next came our Texas history tour. First, we paid a visit to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, located on the UT Campus. It was a nice follow up to the previous days’ drive through Johnson City. Luckily we arrived to the museum just days before it closed for several months for major renovations. I really enjoyed the exhibits and artifacts—love letters between Lyndon and Lady Bird during their courtship, a full scale model of the oval office during the Lydon administration, family videos, etc. Afterward, we made a brief stop at the nearby Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. With very limited time to spare, we covered the museum’s three floors and “The Story of Texas” in less than an hour. It’s a beautiful museum and the kind of place you could spend an entire day exploring. texas-2012-216

Then we stopped for a quick treat at Lick, an ice cream parlor that features all organic “honest”  ingredients from Texas. Although the ice cream left a weird film on the roof of my mouth, the flavors were unique and vibrant and the texture was wonderfully creamy. There were flavors like Cilantro Lime, Strawberry Basil, and even Caramelized Carrots and Tarragon. texas-2012-222

To cap off the day, we met my friend Kelly and her husband Brad for dinner at Contigo, a trendy outdoor spot in East Austin. It’s a place that features lots of fresh and local ingredients and a seasonal menu. We ordered a mix of small plates and chacuterie to share, and finished off with a nice “milk and cookies” dessert. It was great to catch up with those guys.

I think that sums up our vacation. Austin remains one of my favorite cities—a place with great food, interesting people, an and an eclectic vibe. There will always be more to explore.

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